Nature Bridges Wins 2009 ABC Eagle Award for Free-Span Bridge and Boardwalk Construction for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection

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Nature Bridges (http://www.NatureBridges.com), a free-span bridge builder specializing in the construction of timber bridges and pedestrian boardwalks through all types of environments, announced today that it has completed the design and construction of a pedestrian bridge and boardwalk for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection at Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve over Henderson Creek in Collier County, Florida.

Nature Bridges (http://www.NatureBridges.com), a free-span bridge builder specializing in the construction of timber bridges and pedestrian boardwalks through all types of environments, announced today that it has completed the design and construction of a pedestrian bridge and boardwalk for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection at Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve over Henderson Creek in Collier County, Florida.

Nature Bridges was contracted to build a 10 feet x 400 feet wooden and fiberglass composite pedestrian bridge with a 10 feet x 77 feet fiberglass free-span bridge center section. The fiberglass free span bridge was the first of its kind to be installed in the state of Florida and is able to withstand sustainable winds up to 140 mph. To help minimize impact on vessel navigation through Henderson Creek, Nature Bridges first assembled, then installed the fiberglass free span bridge approximately 15 feet above water level. The new pedestrian bridge system connects the second floor of the Learning Center to a planned 1.5 mile trail system to allow visitors to explore important coastal habitats and rich cultural history within the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. The pedestrian bridge allows easier access to the Estuarine for hands on research and training for scientists, students and other visitors from around the world.

Top-down construction specialist, Nature Bridges, assisted with re-engineering, design and construction of the project. The original plans called for conventional construction of the boardwalk which would have meant that the environmentally sensitive areas in the estuarine would have been compromised. By using their top-down construction method, Nature Bridges was able to build the pedestrian bridge from the top down. Ten foot sections of the boardwalk are built and repeated until the process is completed. All material is staged at one end of the bridge and fed out on the bridge to the construction zone by a modified forklift. Guard rail is then installed after the bridge deck is complete. No equipment touches the ground at anytime in during bridge construction, thereby reducing the impact construction has on environmentally sensitive areas.

During construction at Rookery Bay, a helicopter could be seen and heard circling over the area as it captured the installation of the free span bridge. "To be a part of bringing people closer to nature without harming the environment was exciting for our firm," said Brain Green, Construction Manager for Nature Bridges. "I'm always proud of the work my crews do. But on this day, they really impressed me. When it came time to fly the free-span bridge in, the crane dropped it into place with less than one inch to spare. Everyone, including our client, was impressed by the precision of workmanship my crew achieved. The bridge fit like a glove and installation came off without a hitch."

Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is a 110,000 acre natural habitat, including pristine mangrove forest, uplands and protected waters, managed by the Florida Department of Natural Resources. Students and scientists from all over the world visit the reserve's laboratory center to conduct environmental research. The reserve has a two story exhibit hall for the public who can: visit the 2,300 gallon salt water aquarium and art gallery, glimpse into a working lab, peruse the Nature Store or take a walk on the newly constructed boardwalk and bridge. The Reserve also offers visitors the opportunity to kayak, canoe, bird watch, take nature photographs, fishing and boating.

About the Leading Free Span Bridge Builder, Nature Bridges:
Nature Bridges: Located in Tallahassee, Florida, Nature Bridges is a leading bridge company that specializes in design, construction and maintenance of golf course, pedestrian and vehicular bridges, along with architecturally-designed site amenities. For more information, contact Nature Bridges at (800) 785-1657 or visit http://www.naturebridges.com.

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